Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The long weekend

A 5 hour spontaneously planned drive from Philly to Massachusetts pretty much for no specific purpose at all.

Lunatic drivers in New Jersey, extreme gasoline-fume-fueled heat in New York City and strategically positioned traffic delays on I-95 in Connecticut. All part of the fun of driving from the Mid-Atlantic to New England.

Tea halt in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Observed old cranky man in Denny's yelling at the waitress for cutting his turkey club sandwich the wrong way. On being told it was how they did it for seniors, claimed not to be a senior.

The old Alma Mater. Looking older. Looking a bit run-down. But still looking great.

Puffer's Pond. Robert Frost's alleged haunt. For me, the site of countless hours spent in idle daydreaming. No poetry did result.

Was informed at every motel that I visited that it's graduation 2006. Everything's booked up. No place to sleep.

The Holiday Inn Express at Hadley, Massachusetts. Where the teenaged receptionists had halos around their heads and worked in pairs, calling up everyone in the neighbourhood, trying to find me a bed out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. That's how they do things in New England.

Stood and waved at this live webcam outside Antonio's pizza. The last time I did it I was in a position to run back to my apartment and run the archived video of my waving.

Sushi dinner in a great new Japanese restaurant in Amherst that hadn't existed during my time. Pity.

Amherst Brewing Company (ABC). The old watering hole. The site of numerous good times. Today, it would be the Two Sisters Imperial Stout and the Graduation Ale. Both awesome brews.Then, Massatucky Brown. Fuckallness of the beer compensated by the immensely nostalgic nature of it's name.

BBC Steel Rail Pale Ale on the motel bed watching Glengarry Glen Ross.

Loss of consciousness.

Coffee at Cumberland Farms in North Amherst. Lost count of how many cigarettes were smoked, standing outside the joint, drinking coffee at 3.00 am with friends. The place also has a large collection of coffee mugs which I succeeded, to a large degree, in appropriating for myself. Legally, of course. After graduation, I donated my collection of Cumberland Farms coffee mugs to charity.

Lunch at the only Indian restaurant in downtown Amherst, wondering why I'd never gone there during my student days. We always used to frequent the one in Northampton, about 15 miles away.

Lunch over, I realized why not. Blech.

The Mystery Train Record Store. Haven for starving young music nuts. One of the few places in the world where you will find a used cd for a buck. Enter the store and you will hear the low mumblings of a man over gently plucked guitar tones. It turns out that's the ambient music. The kind of music you wish you were hip enough to appreciate. When I was a student, come paycheck time, half of it used to disappear promptly down the maw of this beast. No regrets, though.

Mt Sugarloaf in Sunderland. Bird's eye view of the Connecticut River.



The Montague Book Mill. Motto : "Books you don't need in a place you can't find". Found it through a stroke of serendipity while biking the rural country roads of Western Massachusetts with a friend long long ago. Fell in love with it then and think about it all the time now. Could time be better spent than lounging in a window seat with a view of the gushing river, poring through a book? Well, yeah, lounging in a window seat with a view of the gushing river, poring through a book, swigging Alagash White on tap, of course.


Came to know a schoolmate was visiting Amherst at the same time I was there. Spent a couple of hours with him and his wife criticizing American immigration policy. A couple of pints of Honey Pilsner accompanied.

Another mate called up from Connecticut, asking me to come visit him and his folks, meaning his landlords. An hour and a half later, found myself drinking Steel Rail Pale Ale with him and the insane landlord couple on the deck of a house in the middle of a forest on the banks of a rushing stream. Flaming torches were scattered throughout the grounds, occupying the space between the house and the stream. A human-sized barbeque pit was positioned strategically near the stream, presumably for the convenient disposal of incinerated remains. I inquired whether virginal sacrifices were a common occurrence in this household. I was assured not to worry since tonight wasn't the time of the full moon.

Dinner took place under a canopy erected on the grounds in virtual darkness. Feeling my way around my plate, I could make out that the delicious smelling mountain of flesh lying therein was an entire uncarved bird of some sort, hopefully a chicken. Morsels of another unidentifiable animal accompanied the main course. Landlord couple talked about the time they had a blizzard party where everybody stripped down to their underwear and jumped into the snow.

Left New England at 12:00 a.m, intending to drive through the night.

Drove four hours back to Philly, trying to stay awake by yawning loud enough to dispel my own sleep.

An aimless, entirely enjoyable long weekend.


Anonymous said...

That seemed quite aimless and quite interesting weekend. I remember the puffers. what was the other place Quabbain ? Fun time. I still crack up when I remember that night .. alcohol, random people smoking random things .. those two kids doing stuff with the bike haha And the neighbors wanting us to party with them the next day heheh .. It was awesome . We should do that all over again

Anonymous said...

Nice pics....did you take them?

gawker said...

slime : yes we went biking near puffers pond, carried our bikes over the hill and onto the railway line. and yes, quabbin too. and mt sugarloaf, in fact i have a picture of us with the curving river behind us. and yeah, we had an awesome couple of days ... some crazy shit went down. i remember that guy who just walked into my apartment and straight into the bathroom, made a bong out of a beer can and walked right out. And the drunk guy who wanted to show us a wheelie on his bike and ended up falling on his head. Amherst was crazy during the weekends. yeah we need to get together again.

gawker said...

anjali : Thanks, yeah, I took them myself.